But for a shopper, it doesn’t matter who is responsible for the mess. If multiple people are complaining about the same issue, even if it’s a problem caused by FBA, that’s information that can help inform someone’s purchase decision.
“We think that’s important for consumers to know,” Dunkel said.
ReconBob is a byproduct of 3PM’s main business. 3PM, which stands for third-party marketplace, has spent five years developing software to help brand manufacturers monitor marketplaces to see who is selling their products and to flag problem merchants. A growing number of companies are turning to third-party software so they can protect themselves against counterfeits and abusive unauthorized sellers.
Several 3PM customers spoke to CNBC but asked not to be identified so as not to endanger their relationship with Amazon. They all said that the explosion of counterfeits and unauthorized sellers in recent years has made it impossible to track their products and that Amazon provides a very limited set of tools to help them police their listings.
Dunkel said that he tried to engage with Amazon. From 2014 to 2017, his company worked on projects with Amazon’s product quality team and showed how effectively its technology could identify which listings to remove based on the probability that they were counterfeits.
“Although neither party moved forward, we were able to demonstrate our accuracy rate,” Dunkel said.
At this point, Dunkel said he’s committed to helping online sellers but doesn’t envision working alongside Amazon. A couple years ago, he even started moving the company’s compute infrastructure from Amazon Web Services to the Google Cloud Platform, which he said is better for the types of heavy data analysis his company requires.
“Besides trust, I believe Google Cloud is a better solution for companies with large datasets. For us, search is important. Why would you not work with the best search engine?” he said.